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Gadsden Flag Paraphernalia is Racist?

Gadsden Flag Paraphernalia is Racist?

What could possibly go wrong?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is stuck in 2009 when the whole “Tea Party is Racist” mantra was still alive and well.

The agency that handles hostile work environment claims is deciding whether Gadsden Flag paraphernalia ought to be considered racist.

Eugene Volokh of the Washington Post explains:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among its other functions, decides “hostile work environment” harassment claims brought against federal agencies. In doing so, it applies the same legal rules that courts apply to private employers, and that the EEOC follows in deciding whether to sue private employers. The EEOC has already ruled that coworkers’ wearing Confederate flag T-shirts can be punishable harassment (a decision that I think is incorrect); and, unsurprisingly, this is extending to other political speech as well. Here’s an excerpt from Shelton D. [pseudonym] v. Brennan, 2016 WL 3361228, decided by the EEOC two months ago:

On January 8, 2014, Complainant filed a formal complaint in which he alleged that the Agency subjected him to discrimination on the basis of race (African American) and in reprisal for prior EEO activity when, starting in the fall of 2013, a coworker (C1) repeatedly wore a cap to work with an insignia of the Gadsden Flag, which depicts a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Complainant stated that he found the cap to be racially offensive to African Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a “slave trader & owner of slaves.” Complainant also alleged that he complained about the cap to management; however, although management assured him C1 would be told not to wear the cap, C1 continued to come to work wearing the offensive cap. Additionally, Complainant alleged that on September 2, 2013, a coworker took a picture of him on the work room floor without his consent. In a decision dated January 29, 2014, the Agency dismissed Complainant’s complaint on the basis it failed to state a claim . . . .

Complainant maintains that the Gadsden Flag is a “historical indicator of white resentment against blacks stemming largely from the Tea Party.” He notes that the Vice President of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters cited the Gadsden Flag as the equivalent of the Confederate Battle Flag when he successfully had it removed from a New Haven, Connecticut fire department flagpole.

After a thorough review of the record, it is clear that the Gadsden Flag originated in the Revolutionary War in a non-racial context. Moreover, it is clear that the flag and its slogan have been used to express various non-racial sentiments, such as when it is used in the modern Tea Party political movement, guns rights activism, patriotic displays, and by the military.

However, whatever the historic origins and meaning of the symbol, it also has since been sometimes interpreted to convey racially-tinged messages in some contexts. For example, in June 2014, assailants with connections to white supremacist groups draped the bodies of two murdered police officers with the Gadsden flag during their Las Vegas, Nevada shooting spree. [Footnote: Shooters in Metro ambush that left five dead spoke of white supremacy and a desire to kill police, Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 8, 2014, available online at:] Additionally, in 2014, African-American New Haven firefighters complained about the presence of the Gadsden flag in the workplace on the basis that the symbol was racially insensitive. [Paul Bass, Flag Sparks Fire Department Complaint, New Haven Independent, Feb. 25, 2014, available online at:] Certainly, Complainant ascribes racial connotations to the symbol based on observations that it is sometimes displayed in racially-tinged situations.

In light of the ambiguity in the current meaning of this symbol, we find that Complainant’s claim must be investigated to determine the specific context in which C1 displayed the symbol in the workplace. In so finding, we are not prejudging the merits of Complainant’s complaint. Instead, we are precluding a procedural dismissal that would deprive us of evidence that would illuminate the meaning conveyed by C1’s display of the symbol.

Used by the Continental Marines in the Revolutionary War, the Gadsden flag was created in 1775. So, obviously RACIST.

What could possibly go wrong?

[Featured image By Lexicon, Vikrum (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]

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So money is racist then since the people on the money owned slaves?

    legacyrepublican in reply to scaulen. | August 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Are you also trying to throw a monkey wrench into the reparations debate?

    Dang, I just realized monkey can be considered racist too because although used in the context of a tool that messes things up, it is also used as a racial slur.

    Let’s just ban English too and then it won’t hurt anyone anymore!

    And then we will have reduced ourselves to a hear nothing, see nothing, and say nothing row of monkeys.

    Arrrrgggghhhh, there I go again. I just keep walking into inadvertent racial slurs.

    Is there any way to make my point without slipping on the banana peel of what I say being misconstrued as racist?

Declaration of Independence, the American Flag, the individual flags for the Army, Navy and Marine Corps? The names of states, cities, towns, streets etc etc etc since they were probably named by persons who owned slaves. Hell the United States itself is racist since some of the founding fathers who decided on the name owned slaves. This is just ridiculous!

OnTheLeftCoast | August 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm

According to, Gadsden “had seen and liked a bright yellow banner with a hissing, coiled rattlesnake rising up in the center, and beneath the serpent the same words that appeared on the Striped Rattlesnake Flag – Don’t Tread On Me. Colonel Gadsden made a copy of this flag and submitted the design to the Provincial Congress in South Carolina.”

Wikipedia, on the other hand, agrees with the Complainant.

Just goes to show we need that flag more than ever. I am confused on how that flag is racist. I suppose you could call it species-ist since it depicts a rattle snake.

Why not a coral snake or a copperhead? Do you have a problem with those species of snakes?

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to EBL. | August 5, 2016 at 8:57 am

    It is racist because we have been told by others that it is racist.

    It is the same system that made the word Negro racist.
    It is the same system that made “Chinaman” racist.
    It is the same system that made “Oriental” racist.
    It is the same system that made “Mrs” and “Miss” sexist.

By this logic praying to Allah is racist, since the Quaran advocates slave ownership.

    It is not possible for a non-white, non-Christian to be racist. Just ask them; they’ll tell you that it is because the whites/Christians have the power and the privilege. Unfortunately, on a global scale, whites/Christians are outnumbered by everybody else… a minority, in actual fact.

    MattMusson in reply to Paul. | August 5, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Hell, ISIS advocates slavery. And, not just sex slavery.

Progressives never miss a chance to circumvent the First Amendment.

I live in Maryland and I’m black. I’m pretty sure that if I take a look around the office I would find signs and bumper stickers promoting certain political party that defended slavery, had a terrorist organization that killed people that looked like me, opposed anti-lynching laws and supported segregation. I feel triggered just writing this…

    Anonamom in reply to Ulises. | August 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Well, don’t mention any of your traitorous thoughts at work then. They have a name for people like you, Uncle…

rabid wombat | August 4, 2016 at 9:19 pm

I guess “F U, stronger message to follow” would cause some consternation….

I see a Buddha monument.

Forget “TERRORISM!” Robot Chicken needs to make a “RACISM” version of this:

Obama could even have some BLM rubber duckies at the end…

thalesofmiletus | August 5, 2016 at 1:11 am

Time to bring up a lawsuit against rainbow flags on the grounds they are heterophobic.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to thalesofmiletus. | August 5, 2016 at 1:18 am

    They also assume that everyone sees the visible spectrum in the same way. I have a red-green deficiency and so feel a need to find a safe space to crawl into, snivel, and file a complaint with someone.

Since the KKK was the militant wing of the Democrat Party (they always seem to be the party of violent groups, don’t they?), then anybody who votes for a Democrat is a racist by definition per the EEOC logic.

Every time I see jackass, I need to think of a racist Democrat not just a Democrat. Do I have it right?

Utilizing this logic, since I support Israel, if a co-worker constantly came to work wearing a stupid kiffiyeh, which pretty much pisses me off when I see an American wearing one, I could then go to my supervisor and complain, resulting in the immediate suspension of my co-worker. Right?

Didn’t think so . . .

    Milhouse in reply to Redneck Law. | August 5, 2016 at 6:21 am

    Actually, yes. Your employer would be required to make a rule against it and to tell this person not to wear it any more. Do it. Go Alinsky on them. That is, assuming the person in question doesn’t come by the kefiyeh honestly.

buckeyeminuteman | August 5, 2016 at 7:40 am

Michelle Obama wakes up every morning in a house built by slaves (although the part she lives in was built by FDR). She says she hates it. I wish she would take her family and move out!

Anyway, I’ve had the Gadsden flag in my dorm room, apartment or garage since 2007. There ain’t no way it’s coming down now. Come to think of it, this is the exact sort of crap the flag is displayed to fight against.

bobbelvedere | August 5, 2016 at 7:56 am

So…in light of this Madness, what will happen to the U.S. Navy Jack?

Common Sense | August 5, 2016 at 8:24 am

The idiots just keep up their persistent nonsensical attacks
to claim that this is racist. Using this thinking most any
thing could be “racist”. What a waste of time, energy and money to adjudicate crap like this.

They are going to keep prodding until they get a response they won’t like!

Hundred’s of years ago some white men supported slavery.

So if you are a white man today….. RACIST! See how easy that was.